Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:28

Chicken brand celebrates African milestone

.While new fast-food and quick-service restaurant brands continue to enter the market in sub-Saharan Africa, the long-established operators are not resting on their laurels. KFC, for example, has announced the opening of its 1 000th outlet in the SSA region. The new restaurant is located at the Lemo Mall in Bloemfontein and represents a major milestone for the company, which arrived in 1971 via an investment in a store in the Johannesburg suburb of Orange Grove. It now has a presence across 16 SSA countries – among them Swaziland, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana and Kenya. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this significant milestone, which emphasises our growth and expansion strategy in sub-Saharan Africa” says Doug Smart, Managing Director of KFC Africa. According to a media statement released by the company, a localisation strategy has been key to its success. In addition to the traditional global menu, KFC develops new menu options that appeal to local tastes by drawing inspiration from Africa’s diverse flavours. Over the last five years, for example, it has introduced products tailored to local markets which include jollof rice in Nigeria, morogo in Botswana and nshima in Zambia. Founded in 1940 in the US, KFC now has a presence in around125 countries and operates more than 20 000 outlets worldwide
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Wednesday, 09 March 2016 07:36

Kentucky fried – but no fries with that

It’s a case of Kentucky fried rice in Nigeria right now, as KFC and other fast-food restaurants switch their menus from offering French fries to providing rice with customers’ meals. The problem, according to a report in the respected ‘Wall Street Journal’ newspaper, is a lack of dollars to import potatoes. “So we offer rice,” the newspaper quotes Aditya Chellaram of Chellarams PLC, Nigeria’s KFC franchisee, as saying. Chellaram has trained cashiers to explain foreign-exchange restrictions to irate customers. Nigeria doesn’t have enough commercial potato farmers or processing plants to make up the difference. “It will take years,” he told the ‘Journal’. “US dollars have become increasingly scarce over the past 18 months as global oil prices crashed, depriving Nigeria of most of its export revenue. So the central bank has toughened rules governing how easily businesses can purchase them,” the newspaper explains. Authorities are now encouraging businesses to purchase from local manufacturers instead of importing. Ultimately, it is hoped that this will encourage more local industries to develop and reduce the country’s oil dependency. However, this is creating a number of short-term challenges for consumer-facing businesses. Notes the ‘Journal’: “Manufacturers say his approach is fraught with problems. For example, the central bank won’t sell pharmaceutical factories dollars to import bottles, because it wants them to buy from local glass manufacturers. The catch: Local glass factories don’t produce the kinds of bottles pharmaceutical companies need, said Muda Yusuf, Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.” Similarly, food makers have been told to buy palm oil from local farmers. But Nigeria doesn’t currently produce enough of the palm oil its packaged-food factories require. That doesn’t seem likely to soon change: “Palm trees take years to grow,” Yusuf is quoted as saying. The ‘Journal’ said the country’s central bank would review the impact of its policies before the next monetary-policy meeting in May.
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During January, CNN’s ‘Marketplace Africa’ programme is featuring four of the biggest global brands in Africa. Each week there is an examination of a brand’s operations on the ground, as it positions itself to appeal to African consumers and deals with the infrastructural and logistical challenges that exist on the continent. Each episode also has interviews with global CEOs from the companies involved to discuss how their strategy for Africa ties into the overall global strategy of the business. Kick-starting the series on January 8 was one of the world’s largest fast-food chains, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). With nearly 20 000 restaurants worldwide and more than 1 000 locations on the continent, KFC has the biggest presence of any fast food chain in Africa. Most of the restaurants on the continent are found in South Africa, but the brand is continuing to expand in other countries in the region. To discover what lies behind KFC’s success, Samuel Burke interviewed Roger Eaton, global CEO of KFC, for the FaceTime element of the programme, and Eleni Giokos reported from Nigeria to see how the brand is building a presence beyond South Africa. In the first episode, Eaton describes what he sees as the most important challenges KFC faces in expanding across Africa, telling ‘Marketplace Africa’: “I think the first most important question is [whether we] can we access the products we need to meet the standards we have. I think that’s absolutely critical. I think the second thing is how we make the food affordable to the consumer in those countries.” Expansion in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, provides a great opportunity for the brand. Eaton told Burke and ‘Marketplace Africa’: “[Nigeria has] massive population [and] great income levels; [it’s] very exciting.” In Nigeria, KFC has taken the local approach and created an improvised dish of jollof rice, a spicy dish native to West Africa. From a KFC restaurant in Lagos, KFC’s Africa CEO, Doug Smart, tells CNN that jollof rice is just as important as the fried chicken. “If you take KFC around the world, we look at local content: over here it’s jollof rice; in SA it's a maize porridge called pap. In Kenya we've taken a twist on that and we've taken maize porridge, turned [it] into balls and deep-fried it with the original recipe breading.” CNN Marketplace Africa airs every Friday at 16:15 on CNN. To watch the first episode on KFC, click on the following link: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/01/11/marketplace-africa-kentucky-fried-chicken-a-spc.cnn
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Fast-food brand KFC's marketing team in Germany has been experimenting with a novel way to solve the increasingly common problem of greasy finger marks on smartphone and tablet keyboards.

Given that consumers are constantly using their mobile devices – even while enjoying a finger-licking good meal – the company's German restaurants lined their serving trays with disposable cardboard Bluetooth-enabled keyboards rather than the traditional paper liners. Diners could then use Bluetooth to synch the keyboard to their phone or tablet and type on it while eating, but without having to touch the phone's keyboard.

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